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Cash in the Attic

While this is the title of a popular show on BBC, I borrow the name for this post because I have come across some treasures of my own in my soon to be former office/loft/former attic.

It is time to relocate my office temporarily. In cleaning up my mess, I have come across boxes of old papers - mostly junk destined for the bin. Here is the first gem, directions for setting up your edit suite. Honestly I neither remember writing this nor doing most of it. How quickly we get used to newer technology! Enjoy:

The Finer Points of ACE 25 Editing

I. Before you can edit, you must align the source decks through the switcher.
A. Place tapes in each source deck, making sure the decks are in "remote", are attached and assigned to the ACE 25, and have the proper crosspoints on the switcher.
B. From the ACE 25, hit "ALL" and "PLAY" to roll all your decks.
C. Now, choose a deck, usually MIIA, and dissolve between that and color bars on the Program bus.
D. Does it dissolve smoothly without a shift?
- If it dissolves smoothly, move on to the next source, and try a dissolve.
- If it does not dissolve smoothly, follow these directions:
1. Place Color Bars on Program.
2. Look at your switcher in the Waveform Monitor.
3. Make sure the Waveform is on "External Reference."
4. On the waveform, press "magnify" and, use Vertical, Horizontal and Variable Gain to place the leading edge of sync on a large vertical line on the 0 IRE horizontal line, with the bottom of the signal resting on the -40 IRE horizontal line.
5. Now that you know where the sync (reference) is supposed to be (because no one should be messing with the sync settings of the color bar generator), cut to your first video source on the switcher.
6. Using a small, flat-head screwdriver or "greenie", turn the H-PHASE pot on the source VTR's TBC so that the sync is As Close As Possible to where the color bars are (on the waveform).
7. Now that the sync is the same going into your first source as it is for the switcher, try a dissolve between your source and the color bars. Incidentally, the color bars and house reference are generated from the same unit, so color bars represent correct house reference. This is why reference is called "reference." Get it?
8. It should be OK. You may have to adjust the V-PHASE pot on the source TBC so the position of the picture lines up, such as when editing animation or artwork.
9. Finally, your SUB-CARRIER, or color phase needs to be checked. The best way to do this is to perform a dissolve from the source to the Color Bars on the switcher, stopping the fader bar before it completes the transition. Look at the Vectorscope. Are all six vector color points in the correct boxes? If they are, you're good to go. If not, make sure your setup, video, chroma and hue pots are all in detent position. Now, using your small screwdriver, turn the SUB-CARRIER (SC) phase pot, the Coarse control, to get the vectors in the correct range, then the fine to rotate to exactly the correct position.
9a. Everything up to here has been for synchronization of your source - that is, confirming that the electronic signals are compatible for A/B-Roll editing. You also must check your color bars on each tape to ensure that the TBC Hue, Saturation, Luminance and Setup controls are in the correct ranges on the Waveform and Vectorscope. Without setting up your source tape's bars, you may not get correct video color and luminance values in your edited tape. This is why you record bars in the field. What? You didn't record bars in the field? Naughty! Thus, your scopes serve multiple purposes, both from an engineering point of view, as well as a visual check against your less accurate eyeballs!
10. Now, check your other sources, using the First correctly timed source as a guide, not the color bars.
11. Once you've gone through this process for each source, you should be ready to begin editing.

II. But first, you must setup your record VTR. If it is a 1" Machine:
A. First black a new tape (for insert editing, or for your first edit in assemble):
1. Find a used or new reel of 1" type C tape.
2. Load your tape onto a VPR-80 1" machine, properly threading the tape according to the diagram inside the front cover. Don't forget to turn on the TBC and make sure the input is correct.
3. Go into "Setup" and set the time code, Press 20, enter, 58:00:00, enter, backspace.
4. Set Full Frame time code, while in Setup, Press 24, enter, 1, enter, backspace.
5. Press "Setup" to exit the menu and press "Ready" to start the machine a runnin'.
6. Make sure you have video going into your 1" Machine. Patch your switcher OUT to 1" IN on the video patch bay. Patch your audio as well (either from the audio mixer OUT to 1" IN, or directly from the source deck to the 1" as the case may be.
7. Now, you must check the RF level going into the 1" machine. With the machine in READY mode, press STOP. Now press SETUP, 1, ENTER and PLAY and RECORD. If the tape starts recording, press STOP and start over. The tape should not roll. When done properly, the red RECORD button should be illuminated, and you should hear a fast clicking noise coming from the scanner.
7a. Now, with a small screwdriver, turn the REC RF LEVEL pot so the needle in the Video/RF meter is in the center of the green area.
8. Press STOP.
9. Punch up BLACK on your switcher.
10. Press PLAY and RECORD on the 1" machine, and record until you have adequate length for your program.
11. Be sure to record an extra minute or two past the intended length.

III. Non-videotape sources.
A. The main non-videotape source is the Targa 2000 Photoshop computer, which we use as a still store. This is a RGB signal that goes through the Integrated Graphics Module (IGM) to be encoded into composite video, which then feeds the Vista switcher and the patch bay.
B. Go to the IGM and open the front panel. You will see a SC Phase pot, with two lines, one marked GVG the other Vista. With your small screwdriver, or your fingernail if need be, turn the pot to whichever switcher you are using. The SC Phase should be the only necessary adjustment for this source. If you do a transition, and there is a shift from the previous source, you may carefully adjust the Video Position. Remember, Video Position is a visual adjustment.

Time to Edit

I'm not going to teach you how to edit, you should already know this. If you have followed the above steps carefully, you should be able to produce a beautiful program without any color or H Phase shifts. Good luck!


The above should take about 30 minutes on a good day, or all day on a bad day. We had some gremlins which seemed to live in the equipment racks, so some days were pretty dicey.

I had forgotten all about the RF level check on the 1". I have never forgotten, however, the task of disassembling the VPR 80 scanner head assembly, replacing a $600 video record head and who could ever forget manually cleaning carbon dust out of the scanner motor brushes to delay purchasing new ones.

For readers who have only ever used NLE systems to edit, be thankful. For those who started with on-line editing and are now using an NLE of choice, I hope you all survived the online days with your sanity. There was nothing worse than trying to tell a client that these delays in the edit session are normal. Pay no attention to the exposed parts and the extra screws on the floor! Those were the days, Edith.

Now, where did I put my greenie? I have a SC pot to adjust!

Thanks for reading.

Mike Cohen

Posted by: Mike Cohen on Jan 17, 2009 at 1:16:07 pm editing, engineering

I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!


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